Aaron Donald has done it all in his eight-year hall of fame career.
Donald has three Defensive Player of the Year awards, he’s been named a Pro Bowl all eight years, seven All-Pros and an All-Decade honor and last season he accomplished his ultimate goal by winning a Super Bowl.
That’s why the 31-year-old is totally fine with walking away from the game of football if the business side doesn’t work out.
“It ain’t about the money. It’s a business at the end of the day,” Donald said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. “That’s what you’ve got to see. For me, it’s about winning. I don’t want to play football if I can’t win anyway, so I feel like if I got a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, then it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We’ve got to handle the business side of things, and if that wasn’t to get handled then, you know, ‘it is what it is’ type of situation. I’ll be fine regardless.”
Donald clarified that he didn’t just suddenly bring up retirement talk around the time of the Super Bowl when Rodney Harrison told the world that Donald might walk away if the Rams win it all. He came into the NFL expecting to play eight years and then be done. He’s played his eight years and now he’s thinking about sticking to that plan by walking away from the game.
“But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl,” he continued. “I’ve been saying that since I got into the league: I was going to play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying. It just came out and then everybody think that, ‘Oh, he said if he wins a Super Bowl, he’s going to retire.’ Nah, I got teammates, coaches, my family know about this. I said ‘I’m going to play eight years and I’m going to probably be done playing football.’ But winning a Super Bowl you get kind of a little addicted to it. I want to feel that again. I ain’t going to lie. That experience is like none other. If I was to play, it’s just to win another Super Bowl, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business and it got to make sense to me and my family.”
Donald is as competitive as anyone in the NFL, and he wants to win another Super Bowl. But he doesn’t need to win another one, just like he doesn’t need to play football to be happy.
“I’m happy. I’m fine. The thing is, I don’t need to play football to be fine. I’m fine,” he said. “I was blessed to play this game, to make the money I’ve made, the accomplishments I made in eight years is, like, I’m complete. If I can win another one, that’s great. But if not, I’m at peace.”
Here’s the full interview:
Donald does mention that he feels like the contract situation will probably get resolved, which is Avery good sign that he’ll be back with the Rams in 2022. But one thing is certain, there’s no chance he’s going to continue playing on his current deal, which will pay him $14.25 million this season.
“It’s probably gonna get figured out but if it wasn’t to, I’m not gonna be mad at the organization. It’s fine. It’s cool,” he added.